We’re starting this series of discussions by examining the virtue of purity. What is it? How do we get it? Why is it vital to our walk with the Lord?
Those are some of the questions we’ll look at this week as we dig deeper into the virtuous life of a Christ-centered wife.
When we consider the idea of purity, the first thing that comes to mind is one’s sexuality. By protecting our purity, we save ourselves for marriage. That’s an important step for every Christian to take, but there are many ways that we are called to purity, and several ways that we exercise the virtue of purity in our lives long after we say, “I do.”
In the Bible we often see purification as being a ceremonial cleansing. For example, Esther went through a purification process before she was presented to the king, and in Numbers chapter 8, we see that Moses and Aaron purified the Levites and they washed their clothes before they served in the tabernacle.
For Christians today, purification is a matter of the heart and soul. In first Peter 1:22 we see that we purify our hearts by obeying the truth. It’s a matter of keeping our lives and our thoughts free from sin.
But the cleansing is two-fold. First and foremost, we are purified spiritually through faith in Jesus Christ.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
What we’re focusing on here today however is exercising the virtue of purity–an act of obedience that follow repentance. It’s a matter of embracing the goodness of God, and it’s one of the many ways that we glorify Him with our life.
The fact that God is holy, pure, righteous, and good should be evident through the lives of His people. And if we’re not reflecting the goodness of God, what message are we sending the world about who He is?
When something is pure, it’s free from toxins and contamination, just as our lives and our thoughts should be free from all that’s unholy.
Scripture after scripture tells us to take our thoughts captive, to keep our bodies from sin, and to guard our hearts according to the Word.
We all know that the smallest temptation can turn into sin and take root when we allow it to step through the door. Just one look, just one thought, just one email, just one day…
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
Purity begins the moment we make a decision to choose well. When we stand up to the flesh and follow the spirit. The minute we take a thought captive and bring it into obedience to Christ we are exercising the virtue of purity.
Purity begins in the heart. Our bodies are merely an instrument of the heart. The way that we use them depends upon the war that is waging inside us. The best way to calm that war is by guarding our heart according to the word of God.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Another way to guide ourselves and to exercise this virtue is by correction. When we see it happening we stop right there and remind ourselves that this isn’t the way we want things to go down. I’ve done this out loud in front of my own family at times. I start telling them something and then halfway through a sentence I realize that I’m not making the best choice, so I stop and correct myself.
Whether I’m gossiping about someone, telling a lie, or being insensitive in the way that I speak it’s important that I stop it as soon as I can.
It’s so much easier to catch it before it comes out of your mouth isn’t it? That’s why prayer is so important to change. It helps to put our heart in line with God’s will and invites Him to work alongside us.
Jesus said, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt 11:30).
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29, NIV
What Jesus is asking us to do is to walk in step with him. He uses the analogy of a yoke here, which is a piece of wood that is fastened to the neck of a pair of oxen. When one turns, the other turns, when one stops, the other stops too. In a way it’s like following someone who is leading a dance.
We don’t always know what steps to take at first and sometimes we’re stepping on toes, but when we trust in our partner and follow His lead we watch and we learn until the dance becomes second nature to us.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. – Romans 13:12-14
There’s so much that can be said on this topic, so come back on Thursday as we take on part two in the discussion of purity.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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